My Most Listened Albums of 2021

I haven’t posted an “of 20xx” roundup to the site since 2018, which is embarrassingly only a few posts below this one in chronological order. 2019 was a speeding bullet train of stress thanks to my last job, destined to burst into flames and derail once we hit 2020. I dove headlong into work on Delisted Games while being unemployed and looking for a new job, and didn’t feel like I had anything to say about what I played in 2020. Spoiler alert: I feel even worse about, well, everything in 2021. But I made some neat graphics for Instagram and wanted to write just a bit more about a few things from the year.

I take issue with my stats as there are a lot of albums I played repeatedly throughout the year that were untrackable by the service; YouTube, Bandcamp, embedded players and the like. Alas, it does account for a majority of local music files played from both my PC and phone. It even pulls in the fantastic droidsound-e app that emulates the sound hardware of dozens of platforms and deserves a separate post of its own.

While it’s probably a little farther down the list on its own, Environmental Station Alpha represents the musical mood I’ve been in for most of the year and shares the spot with the likes of Shipwreck, Niche, Assemble With Care, and some really good vaporwave mixes from YouTube. ESA was also heavily featured in my pre-stream for that crazy springtime period where I was actually doing a lot on Twitch with Delisted Games.

Creating a new soundtrack release is definitely going to add up some repeat plays and that’s exactly what happened with Dinosaur Hunting. A new, complete 3-disc album came out of the work and it’s a collection I’m really proud of making (and hearing!), right down to the fake liner notes. Of course perennial favorites, Castlevania and Ace Combat 04, made appearances this year and each moved up a few slots. In comparison, both Earthbound and Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000 are a surprise to see as I had never heard either soundtrack before and only remember listening to them a couple of times.

One surprise that I’m happy to see is Side Pocket, a go-to album for the highly specific desire for 16-bit jazz. And rounding out the list are DJ Cutman’s Volume V, PONCHO, and Spelunky, all of which also made it into the pre-stream playlist and have those great chill vibes.

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